Chambers Latin America Awards for Excellence 2014
The Chambers Latin America Awards 2014 took place at Miami’s Loews Hotel on September 19th 2014, and was hosted by Chambers Latin America editor Andres Jaramillo Mejia. The key note speaker for the evening was Dr Horacio A. Grigera Naón, a world-renowned international arbitrator.
The evening saw 19 individual country awards. There were also regional awards for Corporate M&A, Corporate & Finance Florida-based, Finance, International Arbitration, Projects, Central America, and a final award for Latin America Law Firm of the Year. In addition, there were ten ad hoc client service awards presented to those law firms that had received exceptional client feedback during research for the guide.
The country awards recognise a law firm's pre-eminence in key practice areas in their jurisdiction. They take into account strategic growth, market feedback and involvement in market-leading deals. The nominees were drawn together by the Chambers Latin America team, based on research carried out for the Chambers Latin America 2015 guide.
We also gave one 'Outstanding Contribution to the Legal Profession' award to an in-house lawyer and two ‘Lifetime Achievement’ awards to individual lawyers.
To see the full list of 2014 nominations, click here
Lifetime Achievement Awards
José Evenor Taboada Arana - Consortium Centro América Abogados
José Evenor Taboada graduated as a lawyer in Chile in 1969 and earned a J.D from Cornell University in 1976. He went on to found Taboada & Asociados in Nicaragua and is Chairman of Consortium Centro América Abogados. His 45 years of practice have included the most complex financial, corporate and privatization matters. Taboada acted as legal counsel for Nicaragua in the negotiation of its external debt with commercial banks, IDB, World Bank, IMF and the Paris Club. He is the former President of the Banco Central de Nicaragua and member of the Board of Superintendence of Banks. He is also a distinguished leader in community work and has taught law since 1970.
José Luis de Salles Freire - TozziniFreire Advogados
José Luis graduated from Universidade de São Paulo and has a postgraduate in Business Administration from Fundação Getúlio Vargas and was granted the M.C.J. degree from New York University. He is a founding partner of TozziniFreire, Chairman Emeritus of its Executive Committee and actively assists its clients in complex projects, including mergers and acquisitions. He is Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Association of Brazilian Law Firm, Legal Counsel of the American Chamber and former member of the Board of the São Paulo Stock Exchange.
Outstanding Contribution to the Legal Profession
Carmen Backsmann is Executive Manager of Volkswagen do Brasil’s Legal Affairs Department. She has expertly negotiated with foreign governments and business partners in Latin America and Asia thus greatly enhancing the global expansion of the company. She has developed her renowned expertise through international transactions in her native Chile, where she was Chief Counsel of LAN Airlines, and also in Germany, whilst working with MAN Ferrostaal and Volkswagen AG.
Carmen is a qualified Chilean Lawyer and a qualified solicitor in England and Wales. Her remarkable achievements are not only restricted to the commercial sphere but also extend to the academic world. Carmen was appointed Commercial Law Professor at the Universidad de Chile’s Law School, a role she held until 2009. A true testament to her international prowess, Carmen is fluent in Spanish, English, German and Portuguese. She is a member of the International Bar Association and of Lateinamerika Verein in Hamburg.
Latin America Law Firm of the Year
Baker & McKenzie
The Latin America Law Firm of the Year award goes to one of the leading firms in the continent. Baker & McKenzie has impressed us with its tremendous growth and development during the past year. It enjoys an excellent reputation in North, Central and South America, and clients praise its exceptional service and commercial awareness. Here is what one client said about the winning group: "This firm provides quality work, quick delivery and personalised treatment. They have high-level lawyers and the client service is first-rate. I also appreciate the ethical and responsible way that it conducts its affairs."
National Law Firms of the Year
Argentina Law Firm of the Year
Marval, O’Farrell & Mairal
This revered powerhouse has nine decades of experience advising high-level clients and a leading presence across much of Argentina's legal panorama. Clients and peers alike praise the firm's comprehensive service, encompassing areas such as antitrust, disputes, energy and IP, among others. Recent highlight work saw the firm's banking and finance practice advise Repsol in the structuring of all financial matters relating to a USD5 billion deal with the Argentine state.
Bolivia Law Firm of the Year
Guevara & Gutiérrez S.C. Servicios Legales
Respected firm Guevara & Gutiérrez has offices in La Paz and Santa Cruz, and offers clients a wealth of experience across the Bolivian legal market. The group has recognised expertise in areas such as corporate/commercial, dispute resolution, energy and natural resources, labour and real estate. In recent representative work, the firm advised Corporación Andina de Fomento on a series of loan agreements.
Brazil Law Firm of the Year
Pinheiro Neto Advogados
This esteemed firm has been operating in the Brazilian market for over 70 years and has a leading position across a wide range of practice areas. Pinheiro Neto Advogados is considered a go-to firm by many major international and domestic players seeking comprehensive service in sectors including corporate/M&A, antitrust, banking & finance and tax. In a recent highlight matter, the corporate team advised BTG Pactual on its BRL1.75 billion acquisition of 100% of Brasil Telecom Cabos Submarinos.
Central America Law Firm of the Year
Arias & Muñoz
This pioneering regional powerhouse is home to a large, well-respected team spread across eight offices in six countries. It offers clients a fully comprehensive range of services, with particular strength in the corporate/M&A sphere. Arias & Muñoz also has a well-developed banking and finance department and a well-regarded intellectual property practice. Representative clients include Chevron, Telefónica and Citibank.
Chile Law Firm of the Year
Carey is a long-standing figure in the Chilean market with many years of experience and expertise across a wide range of sectors. The firm is recognised as a market leader in a swathe of practice areas spanning corporate/M&A, tax, projects and energy. It is also fast establishing itself as one of the top practices in the Chilean antitrust space. Recent highlight work saw the firm advise Philip Morris in a claim filed against British American Tobacco regarding exclusionary practices.
Colombia Law Firm of the Year
Brigard & Urrutia
This deeply respected Bogotá-based group is considered a go-to firm by international clients for its expertise in banking and finance, corporate/M&A and projects. It has one of the largest teams in the country, and of late has advised Millicom International Cellular in a USD4.4 billion process to combine its local telecoms operations with Empresas Públicas de Medellín, one of the country's largest public utilities companies.
Costa Rica Law Firm of the Year
Consortium - Centro América Abogados
Banking and finance, corporate law and insurance lie at the heart of this well-respected regional powerhouse, and it is regularly sought after by clients for its cross-border capabilities. In recent highlight work, the firm advised Barclays Capital and Deutsche Bank Securities on a USD1 billion Eurobonds transaction, and also acted as counsel to the Banco de Costa Rica on the issuance of notes worth USD500 million.
Dominican Republic Law Firm of the Year
Headrick Rizik Alvarez & Fernández
This domestic powerhouse is a long-standing presence in the Dominican market and is highly regarded for the strength of its corporate and dispute resolution departments. This expertise has seen the firm represent a number of major corporate clients, such as BNP Paribas and the Export and Import Bank of the United States. The firm recently advised the latter in a USD38 million loan to the Dominican government for the construction of a major public infrastructure project.
Ecuador Law Firm of the Year
Pérez Bustamante & Ponce
This Quito-based firm is regularly sought after by clients for its cross-border capabilities and enjoys a top-tier standing across much of the Ecuadorian legal market. While corporate/M&A work forms the backbone of the practice, Pérez Bustamante & Ponce also excels in disputes, tax, real estate and energy. Representative clients include MetLife, Clorox and Procter & Gamble.
El Salvador Law Firm of the Year
Arias & Muñoz
The Salvadoran branch of this regional powerhouse is highly sought after by clients for its renowned capabilities in corporate law, M&A and cross-border mandates. Intellectual property is another strong suit for the firm, and it advises a number of high-level international clients, including Procter & Gamble, SABMiller and Rolex in this space.
Guatemala Law Firm of the Year
Carrillo & Asociados
This full-service firm is recognised as an important player in the corporate field, and is well regarded by clients for its ability to handle high-level transactional work. The group also has expertise in tax and banking & finance, and has experience of advising major clients such as Nestlé and AmBev in these areas.
Honduras Law Firm of the Year
Consortium - Centro América Abogados
Clients seeking high-level corporate and commercial advice regularly turn to Consortium, which has one of the deepest benches in the country. The firm is well known for its capabilities in cross-border mandates and it is the only one to have offices in Tegucigalpa, San Pedro Sula and on the island of Roatán. It also has a market-leading tax practice which has recently advised clients such as Citibank and Nestlé.
Mexico Law Firm of the Year
Nader, Hayaux y Goebel, S.C.
This well-regarded firm has quickly established a reputation for its expertise in a broad range of areas, with notable strength in real estate, banking and finance, insurance and corporate matters. The firm is especially well known for its cross-border capabilities, and is the only Mexican firm to have an office in London. Representative client names include Barclays, HSBC Seguros and Telefónica Movistar.
Nicaragua Law Firm of the Year
Consortium - Centro América Abogados
This regional powerhouse has a first-class reputation for the strength of its practice in the Nicaraguan market. Consortium has offices in Managua and León and is considered as a go-to firm for many multinational organisations that operate in the country. The firm handles a variety of matters for its clients, including those related to corporate law, real estate, dispute resolution and energy.
Panama Law Firm of the Year
Arias, Fábrega & Fábrega
This deeply established firm stands at the forefront of the Panamanian market in the financial and corporate spheres and is particularly well regarded for its cross-border capabilities. The group manages a portfolio of high-level international clients, including Bank of America, Morgan Stanley and J.P. Morgan. In a recent work highlight, the firm represented Bancolombia in negotiations for its USD540 million purchase of a 40% equity stake in Grupo Agromercantil Holdings.
Paraguay Law Firm of the Year
Peroni Sosa Tellechea Burt & Narvaja
This prominent domestic firm has market-leading corporate and environmental practices. The firm regularly works alongside clients from the energy and shipping sectors, and in a recent work highlight it advised Hidrovias do Brasil on all matters related to a USD100 million loan it received to expand and increase a domestic waterway. Further areas of strength include IP and banking and finance.
Peru Law Firm of the Year
Rodrigo, Elías & Medrano Abogados
This pace-setting domestic firm enjoys a leading position across much of the Peruvian legal market. The team offers a highly respected service and is retained by a number of major domestic and international clients for its strength in a broad range of areas. In terms of highlight work, the firm advised Solar Pack Corporación Tecnológica in all matters pertaining to its EUR360 million acquisition of land for the construction of a photovoltaic power generation plant.
Puerto Rico Law Firm of the Year
O’Neill & Borges LLC
The firm enjoys a strong reputation for its ability to deliver client service across the board, including in areas such as tax, environmental and intellectual property. The firm also regularly advises significant clients from the corporate sphere, and recently acted as counsel to Barclays and UBS in their operations as lead underwriters in the sale of municipal bonds issued by the Puerto Rican government.
Uruguay Law Firm of the Year
Guyer & Regules
This domestic heavyweight is widely regarded as one of the leading firms in the country and has deep expertise in a number of areas. The group is the Uruguayan member of Lex Mundi and can call upon the support of a global network of partner offices when handling cross-border mandates. Of late, the banking and finance team has advised HSBC and Deutsche Bank in their operations as bookrunners for a USD2 billion bond enacted by the Uruguayan government.
Venezuela Law Firm of the Year
Hoet Pelaez Castillo & Duque
This long-established firm has an excellent standing in the market for its broad capabilities and high level of client service. The firm stands out for its IP and life sciences practices, and a steadily growing labour and employment group. The firm regularly advises heavy-hitters such as PepsiCo, Bayer and Google and in recent highlight work one of its lawyers acted as expert witness for Viacom International in an IP litigation before US courts worth some USD35 million.
International Counsel in Latin America Awards by Practice Area
Greenberg Traurig, LLP
Greenberg is a respected name in the Latin American corporate ambit and the 14-partner practice advises clients across the spectrum of sector issues. The team is active across a raft of sectors, including retail, hospitality, energy, media and telecoms. The firm can also advise local clients from its Mexico City office. Representative client names include Satelites Mexicanos (Satmex), Telefónica and Sol Meliá.
Corporate & Finance (Florida-based)
Hunton & Williams LLP
Hunton & Williams is held in high esteem for its services across areas such as Latin American banking and cross-border work. The practice operates out of the firm's Miami office and in recent highlight work, represented Metlife in a USD182 million acquisition of 39 commercial properties in Mexico by a real estate investment trust. Other representative clients include MasterCard, Telefónica, and power and telecoms provider Instituto Costarricense de Electricidad (ICE).
White & Case LLP
White & Case is a leading name in Latin American finance that is widely recognised and respected for its market share and involvement in high-profile, multi-jurisdictional cases. By way of example, the firm recently advised Vale in a USD2 billion revolving export credit facility. The firm has offices in Miami, Mexico City and São Paulo. Further representative client names include the likes of Crédit Agricole, BBVA, Banco de Crédito del Perú and Telefónica.
Debevoise & Plimpton LLP
This international powerhouse has a leading position in this area and advises on some of the market's most notable arbitration matters. Practice focus straddles both the BIT and commercial sides and, in terms of recent highlight work, the firm represented Perenco in a USD3.5 billion dispute against the Republic of Ecuador in an ICSID claim relating to an amendment to the hyrdocarbon law. Further representative names from the firm's client roster include GlaxoSmithKline, General Electric and Occidental Petroleum Company.
Milbank, Tweed, Hadley & McCloy LLP
Milbank, Tweed, Hadley & McCloy LLP is regularly retained by major financial institutions and energy companies for its experience and comprehensive service. The firm co-ordinates its regional operations from its base in Brazil and has lately represented a number of lenders. By way of example, it advised the Inter-American Development Bank and Corporación Andina de Fomento in a USD390 million deal to expand, modernise and develop the El Dorado Aiport in Colombia.
Client Service Awards
Regional Client Service Award
This regional group is a well-established player in the Uruguayan market and remains a go-to firm for high-level clients seeking expert advice in a wide range of areas, including corporate/M&A, energy, tax and IP. Ferrere also has a strong disputes resolution practice, and recently represented a number of major multinational companies, such as J. P. Morgan and Credit Suisse in an international arbitration case with the government of Uruguay, worth approximately USD1 billion.
Barbosa, Müssnich & Aragão
This well-respected firm offers clients a first-class, comprehensive service and is best known for its expertise in antitrust and high-level corporate transactions. Capital markets is another of the firm's strong suits, and it is also establishing itself as an important presence in the banking & finance and dispute resolution spheres. In a recent highlight, the corporate team advised Leader Magazine in its acquisition of retail chain Lojas Seller.
Aguilar Castillo Love
This highly respected firm has offices in six countries in Central America and has recently opened a new branch in Ecuador. Aguilar Castillo Love has notable expertise in areas such as corporate law, tax, antitrust and litigation, and advises a range of high-level multinational clients including Hewlett-Packard, Nokia and General Electric.
Philippi, Yrarrazaval, Pulido & Brunner
This firm stands at the forefront of the Chilean legal market and is widely respected by peers and clients alike for its broad capabilities. The firm excels in a wide range of areas, including banking and finance, capital markets and corporate/M&A. Other areas of strength include energy, labour and real estate. Of late, the firm's environmental practice represented Geotérmica del Norte in court proceedings related to the 'El Tatio' project, one of the biggest environmental controversies in Chilean history.
Posse Herrera Ruiz
The firm is noted for its highly respected energy and natural resources practice and it represents a number of major international clients in this space, including ConocoPhillips and General Electric. The group also enjoys a top-tier standing in areas such as banking and finance, dispute resolution and tax. In a recent matter, Posse, Herrera Ruiz advised Cencosud on tax, corporate and foreign exchange issues related to a USD2.5 billion takeover of Carrefour's retail operations in Colombia.
The Costa Rican branch of this firm has acted as the base for Pacheco Coto's relatively recent expansion into the regional market, which has added to the group's presence in Switzerland, New Zealand and Spain. The firm offers clients a broad range of services, with notable expertise in tax and strength in corporate law, real estate and matters related to commercial projects.
Basham, Ringe y Correa S.C.
Basham, Ringe y Correa is an extremely long-standing player in the field, having operated in Mexico for over a century. Clients regularly turn to the firm for its market-leading tax and labour departments, and it also enjoys a strong reputation for its experience in IP and corporate/M&A. Of late, the team has successfully represented Cisco Systems de Mexico in litigation proceedings against a labour union formed by its workers.
Posadas, Posadas & Vecino
The firm regularly works alongside major multinational clients and is widely praised for its experience in complex cross-border mandates. Best known for its expertise in the real estate sphere, the firm has recently advised Trafigura on matters such as acquisition, construction and development of a USD20 million office block. The team also has strength in corporate law, banking & finance and energy-related issues.
D’Empaire Reyna Abogados
This active firm has a notable portfolio of domestic and international players and is regarded as one of the leading firms in Venezuela. The firm has broad capabilities in areas such as antitrust, tax, public law and environment. The team also has expertise in transactional and financial matters and of late has represented a number of financial institutions, including BNP Paribas, Deutsche Bank and Société Générale.